Consumer Real Estate News

    • How to Pack for a Long Weekend

      19 September 2018

      If you’re lucky enough to be jetting out of town for an extended weekend getaway, the last thing you want is to be burdened with too much baggage; however, packing for a long weekend is both art and science, and involves combining a few important staples with a couple of special items targeted toward your destination. Here are a few tips to keep your luggage light and your style game on point:

      Check the weather and bring the right gear. You don’t want to be caught unprepared or have to waste time and money shopping for an article of clothing to handle weather conditions at your destination. So stay vigilant about the weather report. If wet weather awaits you, a lightweight, wrinkle-free rain jacket can roll up and be tucked into the corner of your bag. Make sure it has a hood so you can skip packing an umbrella.

      Prep for cool moments. Even if you’re headed to a warm-weather spot, mornings and evenings may be chilly, as can air-conditioned restaurants and theaters. Instead of taking up room with jackets and coats, ladies can opt for a large shawl, and gents, a light-weight sweater. You can also choose to layer at night, placing a long-sleeved shirt over a t-shirt.

      Always choose wrinkle-free. You want to maximize every minute of your long weekend, so pack wrinkle-free clothing, or at least clothing that can de-wrinkle easily with the steam from your shower. There are many stylish options for both men and women, made specially for fuss-free traveling.

      Take a small bag. Take the smallest bag possible, by packing the basic clothing necessities for your getaway (i.e., bathing suit and cover-up for the beach, athletic gear for hiking) then adding in a dinner outfit if you have plans for fine dining, one pair of jeans and a couple of t-shirts that could work for day or night. Carefully rolling your items before packing them will add more space and help keep them from wrinkling.

      Keep accessories to a minimum. You’ll only be gone for a few days, so you won’t need much in the way of toiletries. Buy travel-sized items or transfer small quantities of your must-have products into travel containers. Chances are you can get by with the supplies provided at your hotel as well.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Retirement Planning Is Not for Wimps

      19 September 2018

      Almost any senior citizen will tell you, ‘getting older is not for wimps.’ Generally, they’re talking about the aches and pains that are a natural part of aging. But getting to retirement with enough money to enjoy it is no walk in the park either, even if you think you are stashing enough into your retirement accounts today.
      Retired benefits expert Richard Quinn, who blogs with insider insight at, suggests seven tactics you can use now to ensure a more comfortable retirement:

      Save early. Save and invest early in your career because compounding is powerful. You may be forced to save less later, as obligations increase, but save every dollar you can early and let it work for you in the decades to come.

      Put retirement goals first. Retirement savings should come before other goals such as travel or buying a vacation home. The choice to spend is yours, but it’s wise to remember there are no second chances.
      Pay attention to employer communications. What you don’t know about changes in Social Security, Medicare, your 401(k) plan and more can hurt you. A missed deadline or any number of other goofs can do severe financial damage down the road.

      Have a financial and estate plan. Have a plan in place that will protect your surviving spouse and family; investments, life insurance and income annuities may all be part of that plan.

      Don’t count too much on Social Security. It’s probably secure, but it’s only designed to replace about 40 percent of pre-retirement income – and for some, that’s an overestimate because the system is skewed toward lower income workers.

      Take care with your pre-retirement lifestyle. Living high on the hog can endanger your golden years. Your lifestyle should be set with a view toward what you can sustain in retirement.

      Investigate possibilities now. If you’re thinking about relocating to cut expenses when you retire, check out the options beforehand. The same is true if you’re thinking about a second career, part-time or otherwise. The more you know beforehand, the fewer mistakes you’ll make.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Tips for Marketing With Memes

      19 September 2018

      If you have a small business or social media presence you hope to bolster, you may have noticed that memes are a fast way to snag eyeballs. Internet marketing agency Fishbat notes that savvy businesses can employ memes as a valuable tool for viral marketing. Unfortunately, using memes incorrectly can have the opposite effect, making your business appear out of touch. To help, Fishbat shares the following four tips for marketing with memes.

      Know your audience. One of the primary aspects to keep in mind when considering marketing with memes is to know when they’re appropriate and when they’re not. Memes primarily appeal to the younger generation, and the content may not deliver the results intended if they are used in an industry with an older average buyer. Knowing the demographics that the meme will be viewed by can also better inform the content of the meme, as many memes are highly tied to current trends and viral images that will vary in popularity across different groups. Do market research to understand whether this type of content will appeal to buyers before spending the time to craft the perfect meme.

      Don't force it. Memes are a great way for a company to establish a reputation for being "cool" and relatable, but trying to force memes that aren't funny or relevant into every article will come across as trying too hard. While young consumers are definitely receptive to memes, they can also be very judgmental of companies that are obvious in their attempts to promote their business through "relatable" content. In many instances, they have responded quite negatively to clear marketing ploys. Memes can be extremely effective, but they should be used sparingly and with restraint for the majority of companies.

      Understand the memes you're using. To expand on the section above, it's important that memes are used correctly. Since the popular memes change on a near-daily basis and often require some sort of context or even knowledge of previous memes to understand, it's important that all memes are both funny and fall in line with the spirit of the meme. A company trying and failing to relate to users with memes is much worse than not using memes at all, so the marketing team should only create content that they truly understand.

      Don't sacrifice originality or quality in other content. For a talented marketing team, coming up with memes is relatively simple and doesn't take much time. Effective memes are also a valuable way to engage with an audience and increase hype for a company or product. With that said, they aren't a substitute for quality in other areas of online content. Providing value through regular articles or blog posts still remains one of the best ways to increase a website's online ranking in search engines, and an overload of memes will lower the quality of the company's online presence as a whole.

      Source: Fishbat

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Fall Sport Safety Tips for Your Teen

      18 September 2018

      Fall marks the kick-off of back to school, and for may teenagers, that means back to sports. But even the most conscious of young athletes can have a slip or fall on the field that may lead to years of chronic pain. With that in mind,  the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends the following fall sport safety tips for young athletes:

      - Always get a pre-participation sports physical examination to ensure you're in proper physical condition to play a sport.

      - Know and abide by the rules of a sport.

      - Wear appropriate protective gear (for example, a hard-shell helmet and padding for football, shin guards for soccer).

      - Know how to correctly use athletic equipment.

      - Always warm up before playing.

      - Stay hydrated.

      - Avoid playing when very tired or in pain.

      - Avoid overuse injuries by taking regular breaks and playing other sports.

      - Understand the signs of an injury caused by overuse, such as pain that cannot be tied to an acute injury and increases with activity, swelling, changes in form or technique, and decreased interest in practice.

      - Wear shoes that provide strong ankle and arch support.

      Source:  The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Home Upgrades That Really Work

      18 September 2018

      (Family Features)--Bathroom and kitchen upgrades are among the most popular home renovations, but not just because the improvements are likely to increase the home's value. Renovations to these high-use areas can enhance the practical enjoyment of your home while adding aesthetic appeal and style.

      A Better Bathroom
      Bathroom makeovers can take many forms, from simple updates to total overhauls. Consider these common approaches, identified by the home experts at JCPenney Home Services, to determine the best match for your home and needs.

      Tub-to-Shower Updates
      According to the National Association of REALTORS®, more than 60 percent of homeowners prefer a stall shower without a tub. Whether you want to join the ranks of homeowners transforming their outdated tubs to modern showers, need a larger tub to soak away the day or simply want to update the look of your space, converting your tub or shower is a simple way to add functionality while transforming your bathroom.

      Aging and Accessibility
      More than 200,000 injuries occur in the bathroom each year, according to the National Safety Council. Especially for those with mobility challenges, water and slippery surfaces can be a dangerous combination. If you're taking on a bathroom upgrade with accessibility in mind, be sure to consider options like slip-resistant flooring, strong grab bars, shower seats and a practical walk-in tub or low-threshold shower base.

      Complete Remodel
      If you're looking for a substantial change, a complete remodel may be your best answer. This approach allows you to integrate a consistent look and style throughout the room and create a truly custom experience. However, a project of this scope often requires professional assistance.

      Create a New Kitchen
      It's the hub of the home, so it's no surprise that many homeowners start with the kitchen when they're planning functional upgrades. New appliances, countertops and tile work all add to the style and function of a kitchen, but don't overlook these highly functional features that can make your home more enjoyable.

      Water Filtration
      Features like the faucet and sink, and even refrigerators with ice-makers and water dispensers, can take a real beating through basic everyday use. One way to minimize the wear and tear, and take your kitchen upgrade to the next level, is a water filtration system. Cleaner, clearer water can benefit your home in a number of ways. It eliminates the need for expensive bottled water, produces cleaner, spot-free dishes, lets you save on soap and detergents, results in less build-up on fixtures and helps increase the life of appliances that use water.

      Updating the floor of your kitchen is another easy way to upgrade the space, even if it's the only enhancement you make. For example, JCPenney Home Services offers a broad line of hardwood, laminate and luxury vinyl, all of which are affordable and practical solutions for a high-use area like the kitchen.

      If there's one place in the home where task lighting really matters, it's the kitchen. Proper lighting can help ensure you can see well for safe food handling. It also helps set the mood for the room, whether it's a lively gathering with guests or a quiet candlelit meal at your eat-in nook. You can create a focal point with exquisite fixture over a feature like an island then be sure to complement your standout fixtures with recessed lights on multiple switches with dimmers so you can customize the lighting as needed.

      Planning Your Project
      Define your desires. Although obvious, many homeowners find this to be among the most challenging aspects of a renovation. Start by determining the scope of your project. It may be just a new tub or shower, or it may be the entire kitchen. Some homeowners find it helpful to consider their project in terms of must-haves and nice-to-haves so it's easier to make adjustments as obstacles or finances require.

      Set a budget. The easiest way to overspend on a renovation is to go into it without an established budget. If you specify what you can afford from the outset and plan against that budget every step of the way, you're more likely to feel satisfied with your investment in the long run.

      Expect the unexpected. If possible, review a blueprint of your home (or have your contractor take a look) to identify details behind the wall, like the layout of the plumbing and electric lines, which can be costly to relocate. It's also a good idea to take a thorough inventory of your current space so you're aware of any damage or wear that will need repaired before you begin.

      Hire the help (or not). With some preliminary information on the complexity of the job and a better idea of exactly what you're hoping to accomplish, you should be able to make a decision about whether the project is something you're prepared to tackle on your own or if hiring professionals is more likely to provide the results you're seeking.

      Monitor progress. Even if you're handling the project on your own, it's a good idea to continually monitor the project in terms of budget, timeline and quality of work. It's easier to make corrections as you go than to get to the end and discover a problem that needs reworking.

      Source: JCPenney Home Services

      Published with permission from RISMedia.